By Elizabeth Gay
NOTRE-DAME-DE-STANBRIDGE, Que – A 38-year old Quebec man was charged with negligence causing death and bodily harm on July 2 after a tractor accident, south of Montreal, on Canada day killed three children, one adult, and injured six others.
Ten people — six children and four adults — were riding in the bucket of a tractor when they were accidently ejected on the evening of July 1. Three children under the age of five were killed. The other three children were seriously injured. Two adults received minor injuries. Two more adults were sent to hospital in serious condition. One died on Friday July 3.
No alcohol-related charges were laid and after paying a $5,000 bail, the charged man is set to return to court on September 28. The accident did not occur on a farm.
Last May, however, a similar accident on a Western Ontario farm killed four-year-old Steven Bauman. His father, Emanuel Bauman, was driving a skid steer loader on the farm when the child fell out of the bucket. A distraught Bauman told police: “It was way too risky. (Steven) should not have been in the bucket.”
Ontario Federation of Agriculture vice president Mark Reusser told Farmers Forum that on-farm child fatalities are rarer than they once were but “anytime it happens is too many. Farms are unique places where we live with our children and do business. Children are not adults; we should always assume they need direction.”
Deaths often occur around equipment, especially tractors, which are usually not built for passengers. “If anyone is driving a tractor and doesn’t have a cab, it should have a rollover protection system and no one should be in the front end loader,” Reusser advised.
In the last six years, 11 children have died in Ontario farm accidents.